Stay Curious – For Your Brain’s Sake

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©Vital Aging for Women 2017

For further reading: 

Top 10 Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is good for your health, your wallet, and your social life 

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ABCs of Vital Aging: Music

ABCs of Vital Aging: Music

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As a Detroiter, I’ve always leaned toward the Motown sound, along with sixties music and of course, classic rock from the seventies.  But recently, I’ve been wanting to introduce some new music to my brain.  My musical tastes are in a time warp, and I need to shake them up a little!

The old songs I listen to have a way of evoking long-forgotten memories, good times, old friends and loved ones. The song “Isn’t Life Strange,” from Blues album, Seventh Sojourn, always makes me think about my brother, who died unexpectedly in April of 2000. Other songs bring back memories of great (and not so great) times during my angst-ridden teenage years.   

Would you want to live without music? I sure wouldn’t. Imagine a movie without music in the background, developing the mood of that particular scene. Imagine seeing a bride walking down the aisle without hearing that familiar tune that defines a wedding. Not having lullabies to sing your child to sleep, nor songs that make us want to get up and dance with abandon. . . . Life would definitely be strange!

For me, there’s no denying that music is a part of vital aging – just because it brings pleasure to our lives. It makes us want to dance.  Sharing a concert experience with our friends enhances our friendships.

But there’s more to it than that.  There’s also scientific evidence that shows how music enhances our mental health. For example, listening to it can boost our mood (Not that I needed any research to realize that).

According to health experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, music can keep our brains youthful.  Music engages the brain, lessens anxiety, improve our sleep. Listening to new music may boost our creativity. 

And believe it or not, our brains love when we hear new music!  Read why in this article, The Science behind the Awesome Feeling of Discovering New Music.

 

 

 

 

 

I felt the dopamine in my brain kicking on when, shortly after getting hooked on Alt Nation, I discovered a new song, My Typeby a group called Saint Motel. It made me want to move in a way that vaguely resembles dancing.  I have my daughter to thank for that, since if it wasn’t for her, I’d be listening to the same old, same old tunes! 

For Further Reading:

Your Brain (and Health) on Music  

The Impact of Music Therapy on Mental Health

Music Therapy for Health and Wellness

Your Brain Will Be in Better Shape If You’ve Taken Music Lessons 

©VitalAging4Women 2016-2017

5 Reasons to try Meditation

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5 Reasons to try Meditation

  1. Meditation may help us sleep better. At least 40% of Americans don’t get enough of the quality sleep they need to function well during the day.*  Many of these insomnia sufferers are women. Our insomnia is caused by hormonal changes we face in our lives, such as pregnancy and perimenopause.  
  2. Meditation relieves stress, and can help those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression. 
  3. Meditation provides other mental health benefits:  an increase in happiness, self-acceptance and awareness, concentration, focus and more – as found in the article, The Benefits of Meditation You Never Knew, from the Art of Living website.
  4. Meditation can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and even increase energy levels, just to name a few physical health benefits.
  5. Meditation may help strengthen our aging brain by slowing down the loss of gray matter, according to UCLA researchers.

Continue reading

How Nature Benefits our Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband and I just got back from our annual July vacation, which starts with a family reunion in Manistee, Michigan.  This year, after leaving Manistee, we drove up to the Upper Peninsula, one of the beauties of the mitten state. 

We traveled to Tahquamenon Falls State Park and rode on the Toonerville Trolley through the woods (and saw two, count ‘em, two black bears!). We enjoyed walking the trail to the lower falls, taking pleasure in the scenic beauty of the plants, trees, and of course, the rushing water tumbling over rocks and spilling into the river.  Later, as we drove back to our hotel, we noticed that the sky seemed immense; it wasn’t blocked by buildings, billboards and other clutter. Lack of traffic, police and ambulance sirens, and all the other city noises added to the pleasure of being “up north.”  Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: Lisa Genova & Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Ted Talk Tuesday will be presented every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Please visit again on Tuesday, July 18th.  

Do you remember the movie, Still Alice?  It came out in 2015. Julianne Moore is Alice, a woman who struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In her case, it was familial; she carried the gene for AD. This neurological disease has also been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, along with other modifiable risk factors. In a recent bulletin, the AARP pointed out that the cases and costs of AD continue to rise, with no end in sight.* Continue reading

Insomnia – Sleep Thief

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You know as well as I do that a lack of sleep simply sucks. For me, insomnia reared its ugly head during perimenopause, along with all those other fun things such as night sweats and hot flashes. Now post-menopausal, I still suffer from sleepless nights, which tend to wreak havoc on the daytime hours.  Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: Becoming More Mindful

You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer. (Eckhart Tolle) 

Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of the site, Headspace, which describes itself as a personal trainer for your mind.  The site provides guided meditation training to its subscribers.  Check out the Headspace blog for articles in several categories, including mind, body, relationships and more.  Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: Shawn Achor and the Science of Happiness

Shawn Achor is a psychologist and the CEO of Good Think, Inc. He is the author of the books Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage (both of which are on my “to read” list).

In this humorous, fast-paced Ted Talk, Shawn talks about his experience with positive psychology, and provides some insight about the science of happiness.  Continue reading

Best Exercises for Brain Health

We’ve all heard that exercise is not only good for our body, but our brain as well.  But what kinds of exercises are best for our brain health?  In his book, Use your Brain to Change your Age, Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., answered these questions.  Continue reading

ABCs of Vital Aging: Explore!

Never Stop Exploring!

 

 

 

 

 

Wise words about sane aging from a mere dishtowel:  “Never stop exploring.”   I received this dishtowel from my sister for Christmas, who had noticed earlier in the year that my dishtowels were pretty worn out and I was too cheap to buy new ones. 

Never stop exploring.  This, my friends, is something we should never forget, as we meander along into our “golden years.” Read new books. Learn a new language. Visit a new place. Find a new passion. Indulge in some googling to discover new things.  It’s discovering and exploring new sights, sounds, tastes, and pleasures that makes aging not only fun, but keeps us growing as well.  Continue reading